An Indonesian diocese put on a tourism festival based on the area's culture and religion.
It was held to make tourism more open, diverse, and good for the environment.
The tourist festival, organized by the Diocese of Ruteng, was held at the waterfront of Labuan Bajo in the West Manggarai district, Flores, from August 8–15.
The program was held in partnership with the local government of West Manggarai and the Implementing Agency for the Tourism Authority.
"The event seeks to promote tourism that is anchored in and builds upon the uniqueness and wealth of local culture and spirituality and wants to get people involved in all the creative economic activities of the community to make them healthier," said organizers in a news release.
Bishop Siprianus Hormat of Ruteng Diocese said tourism in Labuan Bajo is not only for wealthy people but also for all locals.
"Tourism is not only owned by people with money but belongs to all of us. All people must be given access. This event is more in that direction," said the prelate while reviewing the exhibition of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (UMKM) products for the local community.
He said the festival organizers had given local UMKM players as much space as possible. "We give access to the local community. It has an impact so that the community also grows economically," he added.
The bishop urged Catholics to continue improving the quality of their products. "If you already have access like this, improve the quality so that it has added value for the community itself," he said.
The Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Jony G. Plate, hopes that the religious and cultural festival will promote holistic tourism and give visitors a chance to learn more about the area's unique and rich spiritual culture.
Plate said, "I hope this festival will inspire holistic tourism that allows tourists to interpret the works of God's love and enjoy the nature of people’s culture. It also promotes tourism rooted in and growing from the uniqueness and richness of the local culture and spirituality."
During the festival, the key components were exhibitions and culinary arts; performing arts that showed the beauty of sound and dance, the magic of music, cultural and theatrical arts, and activities that helped the environment and people in need.
The tourism festival ended in a grand procession of Our Lady of Assumpta, and the Great Mass of Maria Assumpta Nusantara, symbolizing that tourism is a pilgrimage to sniff out God's footsteps in the joy of encounters between humans, between cultures, and the wonder of beautiful nature.
The Indonesian government has designated Labuan Bajo as a premium tourist destination in the country. The city is on the Indonesian island of Flores, which is predominantly Catholic. It is the starting point for trips to Komodo Island and Rinca Island, both home to the famous Komodo dragons.
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